The tabloid media regularly employs an old tried-and-true technique upon the public known as the “seed of doubt.” It is probably the most powerful tool of unsettling or controlling the mind of anyone from a single person to large groups. It’s the suggestion of something invisible—often an absurdity so incongruous with reality that our minds fixate upon it in an attempt to prove or disprove it.
It could be as small as a friend “suggesting” to you that your spouse might be cheating on you, or it can grow into something as large as the mass torture and murder of women in the 17th century for being witches “casting spells.” The idea is to make the seed grow and take over a person’s thinking by making them distrust themselves and what they see right in front of their eyes—giving over their power of decision to the person who planted the seed.
These days, seeds of doubt are planted as a cash crop by tabloid media. They are planted in the minds of readers and viewers to smear everything from celebrities to industries to money markets to politics and religion. Anyone and anything which will (1) make money for the tabloid media and (2) benefit its advertisers. The idea is simple: Tell the public what to think about something before they start to think about it.
Case in point: Backstreet Boy AJ McLean on his podcast called “Pretty Messed Up” concluded that trouble with a door constituted “brainwashing.” Australian disc jockey Kyle Sandilands chimed he had trouble with the same door. Upshot? It seems they both watched a Church of Scientology video in the same room and knocked to get out. And what happened to them? Nothing. Someone opened the door and they went on their respective ways.
These days, seeds of doubt are planted as a cash crop by tabloid media. They are planted in the minds of readers and viewers to smear everything from celebrities to industries to money markets to politics and religion.
I’ve been in plenty of Church of Scientology screening rooms in over 40 years and never seen one locked. The same videos shown in those screening rooms are viewed by tens of thousands of people every day on Scientology TV and the Scientology Video Channel. No problem. Yet because of the tabloid media’s constant bombarding of the public with sensationalism and fear about anything possible, including Scientology, these two automatically imputed some unseen and mysterious motive to a door.
In the 17th century, McLean would have concluded that a witch had “cast a spell” on the door. Back then, “everybody knew” there were witches who cast spells because “everybody” said so. Why? Because the seed of doubt had been planted in everyone’s mind. With enough repetition, the seed grew into a gigantic invasive weed, consuming everyone. Nowadays “everybody knows” about “brainwashing.” They can’t tell you how it’s done or find an actual instance of it, they just know it’s there because, thanks to the tabloid media, “everybody” says so.
Now, I hate to point out the obvious, but I will: For 20 years AJ McLean, along with millions of other Americans, were held in a “locked room” of addiction by drug dealers—a form of mental slavery the Church of Scientology is at the forefront of fighting against. Tragically, and like so many others, McLean had his mind and his life controlled by drugs and dealers. He gave away untold amounts of money for loss and pain. Yet somehow, our society has apathetically come to accept this real-life form of mind control as a normal part of life. No “seed of doubt” is ever planted about the people who push drugs and their true intentions as they turn very real people into very real slaves. Instead, the tabloid media glorifies drug slavery as some cultural rite of passage, especially for celebrities.
But let’s not call that “brainwashing.” Let’s just call it “pretty messed up.”